The fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus has left many people worried and uncertain about how to handle the otherwise normal house chores. Can I catch coronavirus from laundry, food, toilet seat, or towels? And what products can I use to clean my home? Now that we are spending most of our time indoors, it's crucial to learn how to clean and disinfect our homes, since it’s the only sure way to keep the virus at bay. While it's true that the COVID-19 virus can be spread via contaminated surfaces and through direct contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person, there is also a lot of misinformation making rounds about the virus. Research is still ongoing about how long the virus remains infectious on surfaces or in the air, with some studies claiming that it can last for up to nine days at room temperature. Everyone plays an important role in ensuring that their family’s safety comes first. That’s why in today’s post, we’ve compiled several useful tips on how to keep your home safe from COVID.
Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting – What’s the Difference?
Before we get into the details, it's crucial to understand the difference between these terms: • Cleaning – implies the use of water and soap to remove dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs.
- Sanitizing – sanitizers lower the number of germs on surfaces or objects by reducing the germs to levels considered safe by public health standards.
- Disinfecting – it’s the use of antimicrobials or biocides to kill and prevent the growth and spread of unwanted germs. With that in mind, we recommend cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces around the house at least once every day. This is regardless of whether you leave the house or not because items or people coming in and out of your home can expose you and your loved ones to the virus.
How Often Do I Need to Clean My Home?
Like we mentioned earlier, the virus can live on surfaces and objects for up to nine days. This means that you need to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home as regularly as possible to reduce the risk of infections. If it's only you and your family (with no outside visitor), you can perform normal cleaning around the house, taking particular care on surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms. These are high-touch surfaces that are likely to contain the virus. Other high-touch surfaces that need regular cleaning and disinfecting include all handles, cabinets, appliance surfaces, remotes, light switches, keyboards, mobile phones, tablets, computers, favorite toys, game controllers, and drawer pulls. If someone in your home is sick, the CDC recommends taking extra precautions like disinfecting the house every day. This will kill all the germs on all surfaces and reduce the chances of it spreading to other family members. Remember to use disposable cloths that you will throw away after use. Separate the sick person and use a separate bathroom and bedroom, where possible. Limit your contact with the sick person and only clean the area when necessary. Even better, if they can, let them clean and disinfect their own space. Remember to wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds once you're done cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Washing your hands is now supposed to be more rigorous and to extend beyond the wrists, between the fingers, and under fingernails.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Products That Kill COVID-19
You must have some kind of cleaning products in your home already. However, not all cleaning products are effective against coronavirus. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an extensive list of products that can be used against CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Some of them include:
- Hydrogen Peroxide products such as Hydra, SPOR-KLENZ, Peridox, and Kickstart.
- Disinfectant sprays, including Lysol, Clorox, and Purell.
- Isopropyl alcohol.
- Disinfectant wipes like Lysol or Clorox.
How to Clean
If a surface is dirty, you want to use water and soap or detergent first to remove all the dirt. After that, use an effective disinfectant product that contains around 70 percent of alcohol or bleach. When using bleach, always remember to wear gloves and do it in a well-ventilated area.
How to Disinfect
To ensure that you kill 99.9 percent of germs, let the product sit on the surfaces or objects for 10 minutes. Many disinfectants need to stay wet on surfaces to be effective. Be sure to always read the directions on the labels before using a product.
Laundry and Dishes
When you get back home from work or shopping, remove your shoes and change into clean cloths immediately. Place the shoes and clothes where chances of contamination are slim. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately afterward. When washing laundry or dishes, use hot water – which helps to kill germs – and wash your hands or sanitize with alcohol-based sanitizer immediately afterward. If handling laundry from a sick person, wear disposable gloves. You should also avoid shaking dirty laundry as this could spread the virus to other surfaces.
Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
We cannot emphasize this enough. You should regularly sanitize your hands whenever you touch a surface. Research shows that the virus is spread when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face. While shelves were wiped clean of sanitizers, you can still get them:
These companies started making hand sanitizers as demand rose. During these uncertain times, it's encouraged to have an extra bottle at hand. You can opt for the hand sanitizer spray or gel, whichever you find easy to use. Remember, anyone can catch the COVID-19 virus. It's, therefore, everyone's responsibility to observe the safety and health guidelines to help flatten the curve of the virus outbreak.
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